Star musicians who gig or record in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and who have to find a local rhythm section, usually do what Dizzy Gillespie did: come up with bassist James Singleton and drummer Johnny Vidacovich, they of Professor Longhair's band. These two, as an established NOLA rhythm section, have been known as the go-to rhythmic thrust since 1977. Meanwhile, their friends-vibraphonist/percussionist Mike Dillon and pianist Brian Haas-have also been playing together for years in and out of the bands Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and Dead Kenny Gs. So why not form your own damn band? Enter 'Dogs' by Nolatet.
We've heard a lot of takes on Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin's 1959 quasi-murder ballad "Long Black Veil." True, while not every rendition hence faithfully exonerated Lefty Frizzell's original--itself deliberately more Nashville countrypolitan than Texan honky tonk--there have been fewer still that still stand on their own. For every versatile Burl Ives, The Band's big, pink one or even Diamanda Galás' most, um, unidiomatic reading, there are too many uninspired dronings on from the likes of The Proclaimers, Bruce Hornsby, Daves both Matthews and Gray and, yes, Marianne Faithfull.